Zimbabwe is setting up special economic zones to attract UAE investors in technology, green energy and other areas, as it seeks to diversify away from mineral exports, a senior official of government’s investment agency says.
Zimbabwe’s exports to the Emirates were worth $366.8 million last year, while imports from the UAE were valued at $59.2m, representing a surplus for Zimbabwe of $307.6m.
Exports to the UAE are dominated by minerals, and Zimbabwe is pushing for a better mix in trade and investment relations with UAE, says Meluleki Sibanda, legal advisor at the One Stop Investment Services Centre.
The one-stop centre was established recently as a precursor to the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency, which will house all bodies to do with investment under one roof.
Beyond mining, Zimbabwe is inviting UAE companies to invest in ICT, agriculture, tourism, entertainment, education, health, clean energy and construction.
“Our literacy rate is over 90% – the highest in Africa – and the majority of our population is tech-savvy. We are aiming to lead the African continent in the ICT sector and are looking forward to UAE tech companies setting up bases here. We are creating special economic zones for this purpose,” Sibanda said at the Sharjah FDI Forum 2018 in the UAE.
“We want to collaborate with the UAE not only for the exploitation of our mineral resources but for the value-addition of the overall mining industry that has the potential to create new employment opportunities.”
Sibanda told the National newspaper in UAE that Zimbabwe was granting tax breaks and other incentives to investors.
“From tax-cuts to duty-free import of capital equipment to cheaper land, water and electricity, Zimbabwe offers an array of incentives to foreign companies and investors,” said Sibanda. “Zimbabwe is going through transition…we have a new president who is ready to go an extra mile when it comes to attracting UAE investors.”
Last week, the UAE announced it would open an embassy in Zimbabwe for the first time.